After postponing the vote from today, the Maryland House is expected to vote tomorrow on the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would grant marriage rights to same-sex couples in Maryland. Seventy-one votes are needed for the bill to pass into law The Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee passed the bill, by a vote of 12-10 late last week. House Majority Leader Kumar Barve (D-17) explained, “To me, this legislation is all about family, liberty and respect. I respect the civil liberties of same-sex couples who wish to solemnize their relations and families in the eyes of the law.”
Joe Solomonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, stated, “We applaud the Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee for ending attempts to hold our families hostage to political maneuvering. Maryland is at the forefront in the fight for equality and will go down on the right side of history.”
The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116) passed the state Senate on February 24 by a vote of 25 to 21. The bill awaits a vote in the Maryland House of Delegates. If the bill is passed by the state legislature, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) has publicly declared that he would sign the bill into law.
Currently, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington DC allow marriage of same-sex couples. Six states, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii allow same-sex couples to form civil unions or domestic partnerships, which carry some of the benefits of marriage.